The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are a sure sign that former President George Bush’s belief that democracy could be brought to the Arab Middle East was correct, according to Elliot Abrams, a former deputy national security adviser to the Republican president.
Writing in The Washington Post
, Abrams states that Bush believed the region was long overdue for a democratic awakening similar to that which swept Eastern Europe in the 1990s.
“The massive and violent demonstrations underway in Egypt, the smaller ones in Jordan and Yemen, and the recent revolt in Tunisia... are exploding, once and for all, the myth of Arab exceptionalism,” he writes. “Arab nations, too, yearn to throw off the secret police, to read a newspaper that the Ministry of Information has not censored and to vote in free elections. The Arab world may not be swept with a broad wave of revolts now, but neither will it soon forget this moment.”
The key question now, Abrams writes, is whether Arab regimes in other countries will take these upheavals to heart.
“Will they undertake the steady reforms that may bring peaceful change, or will they conclude that exiled Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali erred only by failing to shoot and club enough demonstrators? And will our own government learn that dictatorships are never truly stable?,” Abrams continues.
He goes on to say that the Obama administration has clearly been taken by surprise. While President Obama has dismissed Bush's "freedom agenda,” he writes, it is clear that if self government doesn’t prosper in the Middle East the region will continue to stagnate and grow ever more violent. And that will continue to cause huge problems for the United States.
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